Don’t Make Me Think

"Don’t Make Me Think" is a book about designing websites by Steve Krug.

I only read it very briefly but liked the essence of his book.

Inspired by this book and other sources here are a few ideas for designing sites.

1. First Impressions Count: 

People’s attention span is very short, especially on the internet.
If something is too complicated or not interesting, they can easily click and leave.

2. Make it Obvious 

People don’t surf the net to work things out and calculate, people generally take the path of least resistance.

You may spend hours designing and working on a site, but 80% of your visitors will spend less than 30 seconds.

3. Simplicity

Don’t overcomplicate pages. But, make it very clear what it is about.

4. Send Visitors Where You Want Them To Go

Web visitors do not spend time trying to think where they want to go. They will click on the most obvious links. Therefore, make sure, you point visitors exactly where you want them to go.

5. Plain English

People don’t usually like long text. People like pictures and short captions
Also people will often click on images expecting a link. 

6. Write in simple sentences.
Have you ever read “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” by Wittgenstein? Neither have I.

If you write like this your visitors won’t stay long:

– Book on Philosophy 
– Winner of Bad English award.

  • However don’t forget Search Engines give importance to text, not ease of navigation. It is important to have many pages of text but these are better as links within the site not as home pages or index_html pages. (Also Google don’t like too many pages that are very short)

7. Look at Successful Sites

Successful commercial sites like Amazon and Google have invested a lot of money in making sure visitors are happy.
It is worth checking their sites for ideas. It is perhaps no conincendence the most successful home page (Google) is also the most simple.

8. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel.

When it comes to site navigation, it is good to adopt common practises that visitors expect elsewhere on the web.

9. Lists are Good.

Lists are good because it is easy to scan read. People don’t read websites like a book. They scan sites looking for something that interests them.

10. Less Choice Is Better

Faced with more than 7 options, visitors are less likely to click on anything, but leave.

When there is a simple choice, they are more likely to click on something. When you have a long list of say 20, web visitors are more likely to leave straight away. – People don’t want to invest time of having to choose.


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